False Friends in Spanish | Do You Know Them?

Do You Know These False Friends?

This is a trap that all Spanish students fall into when learning the language.  We learn that some of the words in Spanish are similar to words in English.  Just like that, we unlock a bunch of words we now know we can use in Spanish.  But…  It also presents a problem because it lowers our guard with this newfound trust that words in Spanish are similar to the ones in English.  This is where false friends try to sneak into our vocabulary and sabotage our Spanish.

What is a False Friend?

The dictionary says a false friend is a word or expression that has a similar form to a person’s native language but a different meaning.  OK but let’s go a little further with an example.  Let’s take the English word “clothes” which in Spanish is “ropa”.  Now because of our false friends, it would be really easy to think that “ropa” means “rope”.  But “ropa” is”clothes and “rope” is “cuerda”

false friends in spanishfalse friends in spanish

False Friends in Spanish

Now that we know exactly what a false friend is let’s take a look at the graphic below.  You will find the Spanish false friend on the left and the English false friend on the right.  The picture in the middle will represent the Spanish version of the word.  All words will have the definition under it as well.

false friends in spanishClick here to download.

Do you have a better understanding of what a false friend is?

Have you ever used a false friend by mistake in your Spanish?

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Improve Your Spanish with courses for intermediate and advanced students.